This World Glaucoma Week we reflect on the ongoing relationship between City’s Crabb Lab and Glaucoma UK. Both share the goal of helping to end preventable sight loss caused by glaucoma.

By Mr Shamim Quadir (Senior Communications Officer), Published

It’s World Glaucoma Week, a unique initiative that puts a spotlight on glaucoma as the leading cause of preventable, irreversible blindness worldwide.

While over 700,000 people in the UK have glaucoma, with a large proportion of them not knowing they have the disease, prompt diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma can prevent the development of needless vision impairment in the community.

In January, City, University of London’s Crabb Lab team were delighted to welcome representatives from Glaucoma UK, the national charity which wants to end preventable sight loss caused by the disease. Representatives included Joanne Creighton, Chief Executive, and Natallie Hoare, Head of Fundraising at Glaucoma UK.

Professor David Crabb presenting an overview of glaucoma research from the Crabb Lab.
Professor David Crabb providing an overview of recent Crabb Lab research.

The meeting included updates on glaucoma research at the Crabb Lab, covering work funded by Glaucoma UK, and also a discussion around what the charity’s service users are sharing with them and what their current priorities are.

Understanding glaucoma

The goal of the Crabb Lab is to understand, diagnose and monitor eye disease in order to improve patient services and outcomes. The lab’s focus is on the measurement of vision to achieve its goal.

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases which cause progressive damage to the optic nerve, and affects around 2% of people over 40 and almost 10% of those over 75, leading to more than a million hospital visits every year in the UK.

Once somebody loses sight through glaucoma it cannot be restored, so early detection and appropriate management is crucial.

Glaucoma research

David Crabb is Professor of Statistics and Vision Research at City and leads the Crabb Lab. He kicked off the meeting’s presentations with an overview of the lab’s glaucoma research and explained how funding from Glaucoma UK over the years has been invaluable in helping to make such progress possible.

Dr Peter Jones sharing glaucoma home monitoring research.
Dr Peter Jones outlining research into the home monitoring of people with glaucoma for signs of disease progression.

Dr Peter Jones is a Lecturer in Optometry and Visual Science and a long term member of the Crabb Lab.  His presentation went into more detail about current projects at the lab including work on Eyecatcher, a new way of testing vision in glaucoma.

Specialist optometrist and PhD student, Deborah Bott, supervised primarily by Dr Pete Campbell, Senior Lecturer in Optometry and Visual Science, then shared her presentation about her ongoing, glaucoma medication adherence project.

Deborah Bott presenting her Crabb Lab doctoral research
Specialist optometrist and Crabb Lab PhD student, Deborah Bott, sharing her doctoral research.

After a group discussion between all event participants, further presentations were delivered by Crabb Lab PhD students, Aiman Haifeez and Mehal Rathore.

Aiman shared her presentation about the effects of glaucoma on vision as part of her upcoming doctoral research.

Aiman Hafeez talking about her doctoral research at a meeting between Glaucoma UK and the Crabb Lab.
Crabb Lab PhD Student, Aiman Haifeez, discussing her upcoming doctoral research.

Mehal shared her doctoral research into glaucoma diagnosis and deprivation.

Mehal Rathore talking about her doctoral research at a meeting between Glaucoma UK and the Crabb Lab.
Crabb Lab PhD Student, Mehal Rathore, sharing her doctoral research.

Reflecting on the meeting during World Glaucoma Week, Joanne Creighton, Chief Executive at Glaucoma UK, said:

We are so grateful to the Crabb Lab for welcoming us to their research centre and giving us the opportunity to witness their incredible work first-hand. It was truly inspiring to see the dedication and expertise of the scientists, and to learn about the ground-breaking research they are conducting to improve the lives of people living with glaucoma. Their patient-focused approach and commitment to translating their findings into tangible benefits for patients is truly remarkable.

Natallie Hoare, Head of Fundraising at Glaucoma UK, said:

It was brilliant to hear about the work being done at the Crabb Lab, and to see the passion and dedication of the scientists and researchers involved. The whole day was a powerful reminder of the incredible impact that research can have in transforming patients’ lives and it left me feeling motivated to continue raising vital funds to support glaucoma research.

Professor David Crabb said:

Glaucoma UK are an excellent charity helping patients and families affected by the condition. They also punch above their weight in supporting research like that done in our lab. We enjoyed the day and it marks a special relationship we at City have had with the charity for more than 20 years.

Group photo of Glaucoma UK representatives and Crabb Lab members.
From Left to right: PhD students Mehal Rathore and Deborah Bott; Joanne Creighton, Chief Executive at Glaucoma UK; PhD student, Aiman Hafeez; Natallie Hoare, Head of Fundraising at Glaucoma UK; Department of Optometry and Visual Sciences staff: Dr Peter Jones, Dr Peter Campbell, Professor David Crabb.

Find out more

Visit the Crabb Lab webpage

Visit the Glaucoma UK website

Visit the World Glaucoma Week website